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The Best Coffee Hot Toddy Ever!
This is my own unique recipe that I would love to share with you.
This is great if you have just come in after a hard day and you are feeling knackered and in need of a soothing, mellow pick me up! I always make this using instant coffee - it just doesn't taste right when you use "proper" coffee - so it is really quick and easy to prepare.
1 heaped teaspoon good instant coffee, not decaf! (I always use Nescafe Gold Blend)
2 teaspoons vanilla sugar (I make my own by putting a cracked open vanilla pod in a sugar jar)
1 shot of good brandy
2 drops vanilla extract
Single cream - to suit your taste
1. Put the kettle on to boil
2. Add the coffee and the brandy to your mug; dissolve all the coffee in the brandy making sure there are no granules left.
3. Add the vanilla sugar and vanilla extract to the mug and mix everything together thoroughly.
4. Top up with boiling water and stir well.
5. Add the single cream while stirring continuously to suit your taste.
And that's it! It tastes great and is incredibly easy to make, it give a real lift to instant coffee and everyone I have ever made it for loves it!
This is not for regular drinking as it is very fattening but great for a special treat. I hope you all enjoy it!
I love salted butter caramel - the taste is out of this world, the flavours all work so well together. It sounds like a really odd combination, but I promise you it is great. This recipe is not mine - it came from somewhere on the internet last year, but I make it all the time so I thought I would share it with you.
1 cup double cream
125g salted butter, cut into cubes
1-2 teaspoon fleur de sel - Fleur de sel is a special kind of French sea salt you can get it in specialist delis or off the internet
1 ½ cups sugar
¼ cup light corn syrup
¼ cup water
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract - not essence it has to be extract
1. Line an 8 inch square pan with lightly oiled greaseproof paper
2. Put the cream, butter and fleur de sel in a small saucepan, bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and set to one side.
3. Put the sugar, corn syrup and water in to a large heavy bottomed pan, bring to a boil gently stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved and turned a light golden caramel colour.
4. Carefully stir in the cream mixture - be careful as it will bubble up - and simmer, stirring frequently until the caramel registers 246°F on a sugar thermometer, this should take 10 to 15 minutes.
5. Pour the mixture in to the square pan and cool for a couple of hours, sprinkle on some more fleur de sel. Cut into 1 inch pieces the wrap each piece in a 4 inch square of waxed paper, twisting both ends to close.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do - it is very fattening though - so try not to eat it all at once!
Hungarian Goulash Soup
This gorgeous soup is my twist on the traditional goulash my mum used to make when I was little - hers was always very thick and served with rice, but I prefer it cooked as a soup; it is a lot more satisfying.
2 lbs of decent beef, cut into small cubes
3 tbsp butter
4 medium red onions, chopped
1 tsp lazy garlic
2 tbsp sweet paprika
Salt & pepper to taste
1 tsp caraway seeds, crushed
3 tbsp tomato puree
1 bay leaf
3 cups of water
2 cups of beef stock - preferably homemade, otherwise just use oxo cubes.
½ cup red wine, the best you can afford
4 medium potatoes, cubed
1. Add the butter to a hot pan and brown the beef for about 5 - 10 minutes
2. Add the onions and garlic and fry until the onions are just starting to golden.
3. Add the sweet paprika, bay leaf, caraway seeds, water and stock.
4. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring frequently.
5. Add the potatoes and simmer for an additional 46 minutes, stirring frequently.
6 Slowly stir in the tomato puree and the red wine. Add salt and pepper to taste.
7. Remove the bay leaf before serving in warmed bowls with freshly baked crust bread.
This is incredibly filling and it does stretch a long way so it is pretty money saving too. It is great for cold nights and freezes really well too. I hope you all enjoy!
This is my own twist on a Spanish classic - potatoes for the brave - it is really hot and spicy! I can't remember where the original recipe came from but I have tweaked it to suit my families' tastes! This goes great with any chicken dish or by itself with a chilled glass of wine!
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large Spanish onion (or red onion), chopped
1 tablespoon of lazy garlic
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato puree
2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
1 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
1 large pinch chilli powder
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
Chopped fresh parsley, to garnish
900 g potato
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1. Heat the olive oil for the sauce in a frying pan, finely chop the onion and add to the oil. Fry fro about 5 minutes until just softened. Then add the lazy garlic and stir around for a couple of minutes.
2. Then add the tin of tomatoes, tomato puree, hot paprika, sweet paprika, chilli powder, sugar and salt. Bring up to a boil then simmer for about 10 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Cut the potatoes into small cubes and dry with kitchen towel.
4. Place potatoes in a roasting tin then toss in the olive oil for the potatoes, season with salt and a little pepper. Roast for about 1 hr until the potatoes are golden and crispy.
5. Add the cooked potatoes to the sauce and mix well put in small bowls and sprinkle with parsley to serve.
This is a great dish - very warming but not ridiculously spicy! It is great to have on a summer evening with a glass of wine and lots of other picky tapas bits! I hope you enjoy it!
Perfect For Winter Chicken Stew
This is a very cheap chicken stew - it makes an enormous quantity so it can be frozen in batches for future meals. (I normally get 4 days dinner for 4 people out of this!)
I will warn you know it can look like a bit of a mess about especially with using the oven and the slow cooker but it really is worth it!
1 Large packet of chicken drumsticks - about 12
2 tbsp Butter
2 tsp Lazy garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp dried tarragon
1 tsp Goose fat
6 Potatoes, chopped into quarters
2 red onions, sliced thinly
A couple of handfuls of frozen peas
A couple of handfuls of whole frozen baby carrots
A handful of mushrooms, sliced thinly
2 beef oxo cubes
A Good handful of Pearl barley
¼ pt Water
1 heaped tbsp Corn flour
1, Put the lemon juice, butter, lazy garlic and tarragon in a bowl and microwave on high for 40 seconds.
2. Snip a couple of cuts into each chicken drumstick then lay them a reasonably close together in a roasting dish.
3. Take the butter mixture from the microwave - there will be a lot and paint this all over the chicken - use all of it. Make sure you get right into the cuts.
4. Put in the oven and roast for 1 hr at 180 degrees C.
5. After 1 hr take the tray out and drain the majority of the fat into a bowl, then turn the chicken pieces over and return to the oven for ½ hr.
6. Remove the chicken from the tray and return the fat back to the tray and add the goose fat. Put the onions and potatoes in and put in the oven for ¼ hr.
7. Take the tray out, give a good shake, and return to the oven for another ¼ hr.
8. Add the carrots, peas and mushrooms to the tray - return to the oven for ½ hr.
9. Take the tray out of the oven and pour everything in to a slow cooker pot.
10. Remove all meat from the chicken drumsticks and add to the pot.
11. Sprinkle a beef oxo cube over the lot and mix through.
12. Add the pearl barley and mix well, leave overnight.
13. In the morning add another beef oxo cube which has been dissolved in about ¼ pint of water, mix well and turn the slow cooker on to low.
14 After about 3 hrs cooking remove a couple of tbsp of the cooking liquid and add to it 1 heaped tbsp corn flour, mix well and return to the pot and mix thoroughly.
15. Let cook for another 3 hours and then serve with buttered crusty bread.
16. Divide up extra portions and freeze.
I know it all sounds a bit of a mess around but it really is worth it as the stew tastes glorious and it makes so many extra portions. I hope you enjoy it!
I recently returned to Disneyland Resort Paris, after a four year break so I couldn't Wait to try all the new rides!
The first one I headed for was Crush's Coaster which is set in the Animation Courtyard of the Walt Disney Studios Park.
The ride is based around the turtle Crush from the Finding Nemo movie, the ride journeys around the reef and you meet several of the characters from the film.
I went out of season so I was enjoying the small queues, so when I got in line for this I was amazed at the 70 minute queue length!!! The queue is quite boring outside - very monotonous up and down, up and down, livens up when you get in the building. You go in on to a pier where you then go over a bridge to get on the ride, there is quite a lot to see in this area - watch out for the seagulls calling dibs on you!!!
The carriages look like giant turtle shells where you sit 2 + 2 back to back, there is a T bar lap restraint which is not good for the larger guests as my brother discovered - it has to lock to a certain position and if it won't go down far enough they will not let you ride.
When the ride sets off you are taken briefly outside and your shell starts to spin!!! You then head back into the reef and it is very dark and you have the characters swimming around you - it is very well done and you feel like you are moving very fast.
You then go through a really fast moving twisty bit while trying to avoid some sharks and a rather large jellyfish!
The ride finishes where it started on the pier. I really enjoyed this ride - it was fasted paced and great for the younger kids - but still enough to get an adults adrenaline pumping. I would have loved to have ridden more than once but I couldn't face another hour plus of queuing!
Yorkshire Tea or more specifically Yorkshire Gold is the daddy of all teas. Every box is blended in Yorkshire - they even have their own tea rooms!
This is not a delicate tea like Darjeeling or Lady Grey, this is very strong and robust and it is at it's best brewed brutally strong with just the tinyst spalsh of milk.
The tea has a very unique taste, once you have had this a cup of Tetly just won't do!
I have tried the other types of Yorkshire tea - they do ones for soft and hard water areas and they also do a decaffinated one - but I always come back to the gold. It is far superior to the other products in it's range and I think this is reflected fairly in the price.
I would highly recommend this tea to anyone, it is a very comforting, quick drink which is full of flavour.
I love Baileys, it has to be one of may favourite drinks of all time. If there is a open bottle in my fridge (it has to be in the fridge so it is freezing cold - no ice though, this dilutes it too much!) I guarantee it will be gone within three days - maximum!!!
As such I only tend to buy Balieys at Christmas because if I had it all year round I would probably weigh ten tonnes by now!! It is incredibly fattening because it is made with lashings of double cream.
This really is the best liqueur out there and it does justify it's high price of £16.99, but luckily at Christmas the price does drop quite a bit and you can usually get a large bottle for under £10.
I have tried all the other Baileys copy liqueurs around and none of them have a patch on the original, it is just wonderful.
Baileys now comes in three flavours - original, crème caramel and mint, The mint is rather tasty - just like the mint ice cream cornets you can get. The caramel is very sickly though - it is just too sweet. You can only get the flavoured bottles in the 70cl size whereas with the original it comes in all sizes up to 1 litre.
I would highly recommend trying the original, especially at this time of year when there are offers on. It is a great drink!
Bailey's Cheesecake - a decadent recipe!
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
2 cups digestive crumbs
2 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 lb cream cheese, softened
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup Bailey's Irish Cream
1 cup double cream
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
1 to 2 oz semisweet chocolate
"1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Coat bottom and sides of a round cake tin with softened butter.
2. Combine digestive crumbs, 1/2 cup of the sugar and melted butter in a bowl until well blended. Then evenly press crumb mixture onto the bottom and about 1 inch up the sides of buttered pan.
3. Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar and beat until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, making sure to scrape sides after each addition. Beat until well incorporated and very smooth. Beat in vanilla extract and Bailey's until well mixed.
4. Pour into prepared tin and bake in for approximately 1hr and 15 mins or until centre is the consistency of set gelatine.
5. Remove cake from oven and let cool. When cool, remove tin and refrigerate until ready to serve.
6. When ready to serve, whip double cream with confectioners' sugar and garnish top of cake with whipped cream rosettes. Shave chocolate over top to serve.
This is a great cake for Balieys lovers especially at christmas!!
Strava - Traditional Greek baked dessert!
1 cup olive oil
2lb plain flour
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 lb crushed walnuts
1 cup shredded coconut
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 lb crushed almonds
1 cup sugar
peanut oil for frying.
Combine the syrup ingredients in a pan and bring to a boil. Set aside to cool.
Rub oil into the flour and add sufficient water to make a soft dough.
Knead for at least 10 minutes until dough is smooth and fim and whitish in colour.
Divide into 3 sections. Roll out fairly thin. Brush with olive oil.
Combine all the coconut filling ingredients in a bowl
Sprinkle pastry all over with coconut filling and roll up firmly.
Cut at approximately 3 inch intervals.
Heat oil and cook for about 12 minutes. Drain well.
Place Strava in syrup mixture and leave for 10 minutes.
Very decadent and yummy, also very fattening for special occasions only!Q
Patatas Bravas - a quintessential Spanish dish!
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
4 large potatoes, peeled & cubed
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco Sauce
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons Ketchup
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
Chopped parsley, to garnish
4 tablespoons olive oil, for frying
In a pan, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is soft. Turn off the heat, and add the paprika, Tabasco sauce, and thyme, stirring well. Transfer to a bowl and add the ketchup and mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Sprinkle the potatoes lightly with salt and black pepper. In a large pan fry the potatoes in 4 tablespoons of olive oil until cooked through and golden-brown, stirring occasionally. Drain the potatoes on paper towels, check the seasoning, add more salt if necessary, and set it aside.
Mix the potatoes with the sauce inmediately before serving to ensure that the potatos retain their crispness. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve warm.
This is so yummy and really easy to do - it goes well with almost anything and can be made in larger quantities as a stand alone meal.
Oh my God I love Ben and Jerry's!!!!! I was in my local supermarket the other night and spied a special offer on Ben and Jerry's. Only £2 for a 500ml tub - I was in heaven!!!!!
I opted to get 2 tubs of chocolate chip cookie dough, 1 low fat and 1 regular.
The ice cream looks (and is essentially) the same in both tubs. It is a lovely creamy vanilla ice cream with pieces of uncooked cookie dough swirled generously through it.
The cookie dough is the same stuff you can buy in supermarkets in the U.S.A it is like a big sausage of dough that is just sliced up and added to the ice cream.
The ice cream in the regular tub was very rich and creamy and it complimented the cookie dough extremely well. The low fat version was less creamy but still a totally divine experience.!!!
The disadvantage to Ben and Jerry's is the price - it is normally around £4 for a 500ml tub so it is a real luxury, if you can find it on special offer grab it quick as it won't last long.
McCain Beer Battered Chips are more expensive than the regular McCain oven chips, because McCain want you to believe you are getting a superior product.
The chips are very nice but they are not really that different than the regular oven chips. When I read "beer battered" I expected them to have a coating on like you would get from a sausage in batter or a piece of fish from the chippie. However they just seem to have a tough sort of coating on them.
They take about 45 minutes to cook and they are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, very light and fluffy. They have a pleasant texture and taste in your mouth, I was unable to taste the beer in the batter though.
I bought these when my local supermarket had them on special offer, otherwise I probably wouldn't have tried them as they are quite a bit more expensive then the regular chips. After trying them I can honestly say even though I enjoyed them I would not buy them again unless they were on offer because there is not a noticeable difference between these chips and the regular ones.
Baby Face is a Cleansing bar, it is nowhere near as strong as ultra bland but it is still very good and great if you are in hurry and don't have time to use ultra bland with a hot cloth.
It comes in the shape of a little baby face and it is quite cheap at £3.95 for a 35g bar.
When you use it, it just sort of melts over your face just from the heat of your hands, so try not to fiddle with it when you are not using it or it will turn in to a puddle!
You rub it all over your face, massage it in then you can remove it with a hot cloth if you want, but as I said if I am using a hot cloth I will use ultra bland. I just remove this with a baby wipe and I find this gets it all off along with any gunk it has picked up.
This smells nice like coconut and tangerine with a very subtle flower fragrance mixed in. I find the smell very refreshing. This is the cleanser that I will take in my overnight bag as it is small and quick to use, but it will not give you as though a cleanses as ultra bland will.
Ocean salt is a face and body scrub, Lush say it has sea salt in to give a thorough exfoliation, grapefruit to brighten the skin and avocado to soften. From the ingredients list I have also learnt it contains lime juice extracted through vodka!!!
On opening the pot you can really smell the lime - sadly not the vodka! It is a bluey green colour and you can sea the mass of salt crystals in it - it is thick with them, a bit like big shampoo.
When you put your hand into the pot to scoop some out you can feel the salt running all the way through the pot - it is not just all over the top.
After seeing the amount of salt in it I chickened out of putting it on my face so I decided to use it on my legs after shaving them - big mistake!!! My god did it sting!! It left them feeling smooth and silky but it really hurt!
I thought this must have been because I had just shaved my legs so I waited a couple of days and tried again, it did sting a little but not half as much and once again my legs looked great - really smooth.
I thought that I should probably do a patch test on my face before using this and I am very glad I did. I put a little on my cheek and rubbed it in, it didn't sting but then I only used a tiny bit and from the way my face reacted I know if I had used it properly on my face it would have felt like I had just poured acid all over my self!
After about 30 minutes I had a really angry red blotch that was really stinging and itchy, I put some Savlon on it after a thorough wash and after about three hours it had all but gone.
This defiantly put me off using it any where again so I gave it to my friend who has lovely normal skin - I am so jealous! She has had no trouble and raves about it - her skin looks really good too.
This does do what it is supposed to but it is not for those of us with sensitive skin, if your skin is normal or oily then great otherwise I would give this a miss and use something a little gentler.